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University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics

Abstract

This paper investigates the information-structural characteristics of extraposed subjects in Early New High German (ENHG). Based on new quantitative data from a parsed corpus of ENHG, I will argue that unlike objects, subjects in ENHG have two motivations for extraposing. First, subjects may extrapose in order to receive narrow focus, which is the pattern Bies (1996) has shown for object extraposition in ENHG. Secondly, however, subjects may extrapose in order to receive a default sentence accent, which is most visible in the case of presentational constructions. This motivation does not affect objects, which may achieve the same prosodic goal without having to extrapose.

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